Pili multigemini is an uncommon hair condition also called compound hair follicles or pili bifurcati. A person with this disorder will notice several strands of hair that appear to be growing from a single hair follicle. It is usually present on the scalp of children and infants, and the facial hair of men. The cause of pili multigemini is unknown, although there may be a genetic link. Treatment for this condition focuses on the removal of the affected hair follicles to present the appearance of uniform hair growth.
Diagnosis of pili multigemini may occur after a physician makes a visual examination of the scalp and hair. Three or more strands of hair are commonly observed growing out of a single hair follicle. Some men have been diagnosed with pili multigemini of beard and facial hair, it has sometimes been located on the hairs on the back of males. The follicles with multiple strands exiting from them may appear in a linear formation on the face or the back.
What Are the Health Concerns with Pili Multigemini?
Pili multigemini is not dangerous or damaging to the skin or the hair follicle itself. The prominent concern people who suffer from pili multigemini will find is that the hair can look different than those with one hair per hair follicle, and the hair can become very thick and appear coarse or curled.
While this is not an issue with physical health or painful suffering, it can lead to a mental burden or sadness for someone suffering from pili multigemini as they feel they look different from others.
Sometimes people report they feel itchy right around hair growth sites, but there is no medical concern or harm around the feeling of itchiness.
Occasionally hair follicles can become infected, which can cause them to become inflamed and painful. When a hair follicle is infected, it is called folliculitis. The folliculitis can cause the hair follicle to become red, swollen, and sometimes become pus-filled.
Typically, being diagnosed with folliculitis itself is not of significant concern. Although it can be painful, folliculitis will usually resolve on its own. In rare cases, if it does not resolve on its own, a healthcare provider can help by treating the folliculitis to resolve the infection.
If you are suffering from folliculitis, be sure to keep an eye out for:
- Spreading of the folliculitis to the nearby skin
- Foul smell or odor coming from the inflamed follicles
In addition to folliculitis, those who deal with pili multigemini are at higher risk of experiencing ingrown hairs, which can be very painful. To treat ingrown hair, applying a warm compress to the area several times a day can help clear the ingrown hair.
There are things you can do to try to lower the risk of developing folliculitis.
Some of these methods are:
- Only shave when your hair and skin are wet
- Shave in the direction of natural hair growth
- Use a clean, sharp razor
- Rinse the razor blades often during shaving
- Dry your razor after shaving to prevent bacterial growth on blades
Extreme cases of pili multigemini have been observed where as many as 36 strands of hair were observed exiting from one hair follicle. Less severe cases have been reported where the patient had an average of 20 hairs growing out of each follicle. Most people with pili multigemini average 3 to 10 hairs per hair cluster.
Under microscopic examination, multiple strands of hair do not grow out of one hair follicle. The roots of several hair follicles are clustered together below the scalp. These strands of hair group together to exit from the scalp through a single hair canal. Normal hair grows from a single hair follicle and exits from one hair canal to the surface of the scalp.
Another pili multigemini symptom is the abnormal depth of the hair follicle within the scalp tissue. The roots are buried further within the scalp than normal hair follicles, making plucking the hairs difficult. Hair that is affected by this condition may be more coarse and curly than other normally growing hairs.
What Can You Do To Prevent Multiple Hairs From Growing?
Since the cause of pili multigemini is unknown, there are no known methods to prevent multiple hairs from growing from one follicle. However, there are things you can do to try to prevent multiple hairs from growing in one pore.
One thought is that it is best to pluck the hairs when you see them in multiples. Plucking can damage and even destroy the base of the hair follicle, which could potentially help reduce the growth of the hair shaft itself. Sometimes it can even be effective in eliminating the hair follicle itself.
It is thought that laser hair removal is more successful and less painful than plucking to reduce the growth of multiple hairs. Plucking multigemini hairs can be pretty painful.
Switching everyday skin products such as shampoos and lotions to gentle or sensitive skin products can be beneficial. Several products we use on a daily basis can be harsh on the skin and lead to skin inflammation which can trigger pili multigemini.
Keeping a good exfoliation routine is beneficial to try to prevent multiple hair growth. Exfoliating several times a week can help remove debris and dead skin build-up, helping to support the hair follicles and keep them clean and unclogged.
There are few treatments for pili multigemini. Electrolysis to destroy the affected hair follicle may be used if the appearance of the hair growth is unsightly. Some patients undergo cryosurgery to remove the hair follicles exhibiting signs of the condition. A simple method some people use is to shave the specific hair follicles that are growing more than one hair strand at a time.
What Are the Treatments Details?
Laser hair removal works by sending light pulses to the hair follicle to cause them to grow less hair. Laser hair removal works by targeting the melanin in the hair, so sometimes it is unsuccessful or does not work as great for individuals with light-colored hair since it targets dark-colored pigment.
Laser hair removal can be expensive, results may not be permanent, and you could experience hair regrowth. Laser hair removal usually takes multiple sessions to work, and the pain during the treatment can also be very intense.
Electrolysis works by individually removing the hair one by one. An epilator is used to send radio waves into the hair follicle, taking away the ability of the follicle to grow hair. During the procedure, a tiny probe is inserted into each individual pore, and tweezers are used to remove the hair.
Electrolysis usually requires multiple sessions. Scarring and skin discoloration can also occur when getting treatment from electrolysis.